Wednesday, July 3, 2019



Translated from the Italian
 by Jamie McKendrick

There's a moment when the body

gathers itself in breathing

and thought stops and hesitates.

Likewise things

tugged by the moon

undergo the influence of

the tidal sigh, the malleable eclipse.

And the boats' planks

swell gently in water.


Summertime, like the cinemas, I shut up shop.

Thought flies off elsewhere and evaporates.

Billboards write white,

the air's warm,

the table weighted with fruit.


Often the page lies becalmed.

It's futile turning it to find

what quarter the wind

might blow from.

Nothing moves.

Thought wavers in that calm.

What navigation wrecked

is there, being

painfully repaired.


I note the forehead's curvature

in its utter nakedness

and deduce the same number

that underwrites

how branches grow,

a church's poised facade,

the snail-shell spiral,

and the form of leaves.


I should like, one day,

to be turned to marble,

to be stripped of nerves,

glistening tendons, veins.

Just to be airy enamel,

slaked lime, the striped

tunic of a wind

ground to a halt.


On the beach, rotten wood, tires, bottles,

sodden stuff — all things wrecked

and putrified — I love them all:

what's washed up, spewed out, good-for-nothing,

what no one wants

to have or filch.

In April the air

takes on a hint of warmth.

Glows like a cheek.


This writing's being worn away,

its angles smoothed, the "r"s,

the "m"s, are turned

and sanded down and roll like stones

the currents shift from shore to shore.

Faces also,

faces waste away

from the pressure of being watched.

They turn into a landscape

full of ruins.

Games: Rebus

A world without time.

Without a breeze.

Everything is still

and exhaustingly full of meaning.

There's no end of meaning and sheer slog

in this worksite of sense.

Every word is a gravelly roadbed

of letters and figures.

Everything weighs a ton.


Valerio Magrelli
Vanishing Point
Farrar Straus Giroux